I read somewhere that small birds have what they call perching toes. Three in the front and one hind toe to tightly wrap around a tree limb or object.
And I watched her for the longest time—this morning. Her tiny toes and spindle legs. She wasn’t clinging to the blossomed limb, instead she was searching—digging in the dirt, searching for dropped seeds. And I thought to myself, why? Why is she working so hard for her food when all she has to do is spread her tiny wings and fly up to the bird feeder filled with seeds. Take her place among the other birds and feast alongside of the others. And then I wondered if she felt as though many of us do at times. That she didn’t belong.
Unworthy. Afraid. Alone.
This sinner woman, she didn’t care about what anyone else thought. She never asked for permission, nor did she ask for their approval. She didn’t hand the oil to someone else and ask them to break open the box and wash His feet because she was worried about what others might say about her. She just did. And her breaking came with tears, shame, raw faith, and the total surrender of the crushed pieces of her life.
Just how many tears does it take to produce enough water to wash soiled feet? And how much broken does it take to be this ashamed?
Here Jesus was at the home of a Pharisee and she knew He was a guest at the table. And she entered into the house and stood behind Him. Behind Him—ashamed to show Him her face. Her faults and failures, but brave enough to know He was love and He was forgiveness and she, a sinner—needed both.
And when the Pharisee saw this “woman of ill repute” washing Jesus’ feet, the Bible says the Pharisee spoke not out loud, but only to himself. But Jesus knew. He knew his thoughts. He knew his criticism. He knew his judgement. And He knew his questioning of why.
Why would this so-called prophet named Jesus allow this sinner woman to touch Him?
And Jesus, He made himself part of Simon’s private conversation.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee.
I have something to say to you, Simon, Jesus said. And He began to tell Simon a parable about two men owing debts, one owing only 50 cents and the other with a debt of $5.00. And when both debtors couldn’t pay the creditor, he forgave both of their debts. Paid in full.
Then Jesus asked Simon, which debtor do you think will love the creditor more for this forgiveness? And Simon said, ‘the one with the most debt.’
Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Jesus asked of Simon. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. Luke 7:42-43
And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet:but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Luke 7:44
My head with oil thou didst not anoint:but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Luke 7:46
Her show of love was humble, unselfish. And her many sins—forgiven.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. And He said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. Luke 7:47-48
And He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Luke 7:50
And Jesus came to the defense of this woman who washed His feet with her tears. She belongs right here. She belongs right here with Me.
There was another woman in the New Testament— her reputation was considerably different than that of the sinner woman. And Jesus, again He was quick to defend her actions—telling His disciple to leave her alone because like the sinner woman, she belonged.
In the book of John, John didn’t only describe her as a woman with an alabaster box of ointment, he called her by her name, Mary—Lazarus’ and Martha’s sister.
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. John 12:3
Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, which should betray him. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. John 12-4-6
Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she keep this. John 12:7
And there’s this little bird waiting for a crumb to fall and Jesus sees. And there will be times where we feel small, unworthy, insignificant, we don’t belong. Hard days when the devil keeps pushing and days when it seems we are slipping into a dark pit and it’s easier to quit than to fight.
And Jesus says, Let her alone. Because she belongs right here. She belongs right here with Me.